Brittany Mendoza

Spotlight

MUNDY MILL ELEMENTARY TEACHER OF THE YEAR: BRITTANY MENDOZA

Question:
What do you think your best teaching strategy is? 

Answer: I would say that my best teaching strategy is using realia. The students I share with a homeroom teacher oooh and aaaah over being able to see something that is in front of them. It creates a memory and a connection that they might not have had if they had just looked at a picture of it online. Any chance I can, I try to bring in something that relates to what my students are learning about. 

Question: What do you teach? 

Answer:
I am an ESOL teacher. I teach math, reading, writing, science and social studies to students in grade 2-4.

Question: Have you always taught that? 

Answer:
I have not always been an ESOL teacher. I began my teaching career as a 4th grade homeroom teacher. When I changed positions and became an ESOL teacher, I had the opportunity to work with many different grade levels in a single day. 

Question:
Why is this what you wanted to teach? 

Answer: I have had some of the best teachers throughout my own education. Many of them helped me and encouraged me not only academically but outside of school as well. They invested more than class time and I felt as though I wanted to do that for others as well. 

Question:
What led you to choose to teach this age group? 

Answer:
It is so important to have a good learning foundation when you are younger. I remember playing school at home with my younger brother and sister and thinking how great it felt when they learned something new that I was able to help them with. I know this can happen at any level but the genuine learning a child makes at a young age is special. 

Question: What do you feel is the most important thing to have in your classroom? Why?

Answer: Encouragement and an can-do attitude is the most important thing to have in a classroom. This leads to many other classroom community characteristics like kindness, ownership and perseverance. A classroom community is built with trust through understanding and encouragement. When one student succeeds another will congratulate them and in return be encouraged to reach their goals. It also builds relationships.

Question: What is your favorite thing about teaching? 

Answer: My favorite thing about teaching is when a student reaches that ah-ha moment. You can see on their face that something they have been working on. finally clicks and they excel at it with confidence. I also love being able to explain to my students, when they think they don't need something they are learning, that knowledge is power and that it can't be taken away from them. 

Question: What makes your school special?  

Answer:
My school is special because of the community it has created. Our staff, students and parents are wonderful! Everyone is so caring and always rooting for each other to give their try their best. I am so grateful to work with the teachers I work with. They are phenomenal and always look deeper than the scores of a child. I love that when one of our families is in need, we reach out and help however we can.

Question: 2020-2021 was a year like no one has ever experienced, with many challenges and yet, you were selected as the Teacher of the Year. What do you think was a differentiator for you and your classroom especially in the wake of COVID?

Answer: I think we all found ourselves wearing more hats than we ever imagined during this time. As an ESOL teacher, I am there to offer my support in any way I can for teachers and students. I think we all just found ourselves pouring even more support into each other than we ever had and it was extremely widespread. I had the opportunity to reach across grade levels and continue with some of my students from the previous year so gains have been celebrated in more ways than one. 

Question: What is the best way for parents to support our teacher's? 

Answer: Parents can support teachers by encouraging their children to come to school ready to learn something new or to add onto their ever growing knowledge.

Question: How can students show their appreciation? 

Answer:
Students can show their appreciation by having a growth mindset and try their best even when they feel as though it is too difficult for them.

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